Rights group enjoins Filipinos to march against martial law extension, repression, dictatorship this December 10

“We are nearing December 10, commemorated as the International Human Rights Day, but we are confronted yet still by numerous and gross rights violations in succession, as well as repressive policies continuously being shoved down our throats,” said Karapatan Secretary General Cristina Palabay in a press conference by various rights groups at a restaurant in Quezon City. Palabay cited the recent case of illegal arrest of peace consultant Rey Casambre and his wife, Patricia Cora Casambre last December 7, 2018, and Duterte’s pending martial law extension for another year.

"The whispers of another martial law extension have turned into a real nightmare yesterday. President Duterte has officially requested Congress to extend Martial Law in Mindanao yet again, while the vultures eager to receive his blessings come election season are ever more ready to decide on the basis of political favor rather than the people’s welfare. With another extension, the people of Mindanao are being dragged into greater peril. Martial law is no longer being decided on the basis of prerequisites set down by the Constitution, but is rather being attuned to the whims of a repressive President who is insistent to wield repression and fear,” added Palabay.

“This government is insistent on ineffective and militarist solutions that do nothing but drive up the number of this government's victims,” the Karapatan leader explained, citing that from May 23, 2017 to November 30, 2018, with the imposition of martial in Mindanao, Karapatan has documented 88 individuals killed by soldiers, police and paramilitary groups, and 128 victims of frustrated killings. At least 1,450 have been illegally arrested; while a least 148 individuals are being harassed with trumped-up criminal charges. Moreover, at least 346, 940 were also affected by bombings of communities by the military.

Palabay also emphasized that martial law is not only a tyrant's tool for abuse and control, it is also a favorite weapon of the corrupt. "Lest we forget that martial law has been instrumental for passing dubious economic projects that plunge the country into debt while the pockets of cronies and plunderers are further enriched. Martial Law in Mindanao will likewise fast-track questionable economic deals and cover-up rights violations at the expense of the Filipino people. Clearly, Duterte does not want a transparent government; He is effecting a government that is abusive, corrupt, murderous, vindictive, and unaccountable to its constituents,” she said.

“This martial law extension hanging above our heads is on top of the state of emergency declared in the Visayas, on top of the Inter Agency Committee on Legal Action, on top of amendments to the Human Security Act, on top of counterinsurgency program Oplan Kapayapaan and the regime’s sham war on drugs. We are being drowned with repression amid widespread suffering and poverty. The Duterte regime is deliberately clear that it does not respect human rights, and so we march this Human Rights Day to show our unity and defiance against a tyrannical government,” Palabay concluded.

The Movement Against Tyranny, Karapatan and Bayan will lead the commemoration of the International Human Rights Day on December 10, 2018, 10AM at the Bonifacio Shrine. Along with fellow rights defenders and advocates, various sectors will march towards Mendiola to call for an end to the Duterte regime’s fascist attacks against the Filipino people. End Martial Law in Mindanao! Stop the Attacks, Defend People’s Rights!